Keeping it in the room: health, happiness and living in Berlin
Public Health England has reported a rapid increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections across the country. In 2014, there were almost 440,000 STIs reported, with syphilis and gonorrhoea showing massive increases – 33 per cent and 19 per cent respectively. Gonorrhoea in particular is becoming harder to treat as new antibiotic resistant strains emerge.
However, most STIs reported were still chlamydia, accounting for 47 per cent of diagnoses, followed by genital warts.
Young people are routinely offered chlamydia screening but only 14 per cent of young men and 35 per cent of young women were tested in 2014. There is a wide variation across the country in rates of chlamydia testing and diagnoses – with only 29 per cent of local authorities reaching the recommended chlamydia detection rate.
Consistent and correct condom use, reducing the number of sexual partners and the avoidance of overlapping sexual relationships all reduce the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections, while getting screened regularly will lead to early diagnosis and treatment, as these infections are frequently without symptoms.
Sexually active under 25 year olds should be screened for chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner. Men who have sex with men (MSM) should have a full HIV and STI screen at least annually – or every three months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.
Terrence Higgins Trust’s Medical Director Dr Michael Brady called on the government to make better use of new technologies, including online testing, to reach those who are not accessing ‘traditional’ services.